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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Rape Apology, Racism and Tosh Fans

By: Liberate Zealot
Content Warning: Rape, Rape Culture, Rape Apology

Unsurprisingly, a lot of people have read my post/seen the video (content warning - rape) where Tosh.0 shows the rape of a teen boy and decided to make excuses for how it isn't "real" rape. Here's my response to the various forms of rape apology that have shown up on tumblr or this blog. 

First lets get this one thing out of the way, because I see a lot of people trying to excuse what happened because it was a “prank”.  Bad things can happen in pranks, pranks can be part of bullying, pranks can be planned with bad intent.  Even if the boys meant this as a friendly prank, it does not change the results of what happened.  And what happened was a serious sexual assault. Non-consensual sexual acts were done to the boy in the white shirt. He had a large dildo jammed at and quite possibly into his asshole, certainly that was the intent since one boy told the rapist to “put it in”.  Even if this started at a prank, it quickly turned into sexual violence and a serious crime.  In fact, the majority of rapes that are done to men/boys by men/boys are "caused" hazing, "discipline", jokes, and "retaliatory justice".  Many of these are gang rapes (while the assault in question is not technically a gang rape, it did involve a group of boys watching and encouraging the rapist). 

Also this is not the first time rapes have happened and bystanders did not intervene.  Maybe some were in shock when their friend took it that far.  Maybe some have been too indoctrinated by the rape myths that men can’t be raped (something the FBI agreed with until earlier this year) too recognize this for what it is.  It certainly seems that a couple of them are just rapists and thus enjoyed victimizing their “friend”.  Which is another thing that is not uncommon for rapists, they target people they know. 
Another rape myth, that apparently those teens, and many people commenting on this have internalized is that all victims act in a certain way that involves screaming and fighting off the rapist.  However,  many victims/survivors go into a state of shock.  They can’t believe someone they trust is doing such a horrible thing to them.  They freeze in panic. And this boy did try to stop/block the assault.  As for him “laughing” afterwards.  I saw his shoulders and ribs moving rapidly, I heard a shake in his voice when he spoke.  Signs of laughter, yes, but also signs of crying, fighting off tears, or a panic attack.  Also laughing can be a nervous/panic response.
Many people are also discussing how this isn't "real rape" because there "wasn't real penetration" or penetration couldn't happen under these circumstances and that to call this rape takes away from "real victims".  Now everyone doing this makes me sick and want to scream profanities, but I'm going to try to address these claims with a level of care and maturity that the people commenting thus really don't deserve.   The FBI's updated definition of rape includes “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” See that "no matter how slight"?  That means even the smallest amount of penetration changes a sexual assault/attempted rape into a rape. And yes, the video is of a lower quality and from a distance/angle that does leave a certain amount of interpretation from the viewer. But from everything I've seen, based on my and the legal understanding of rape, this is very likely to qualify.  And even if I'm wrong, even if this was an attempted rape that wasn't fully completed, well so what.  Is calling this boy a survivor of rape going to take away from the experiences of rape victims?  I certainly don't feel so, and I am a survivor.  In fact, I'm a survivor of a rape that many would not call a "real rape".  But guess what does hurt survivors of rape? Closely examining the details of each and every rape and having outsiders rule on whether it's "real" enough. Certainly that aspect of rape culture made it take me over a year to fully name what had been done to me.  Hell, in some people's minds the drugging and raping of a 14 year old by a grown man isn't "real" rape
Also to the people saying anal is only possible with liberal amount of lube and prep, just no.  From first hand experience, while lube and prep are necessary for pleasurable anal, they are not necessary for anal full stop.

As for the media response, that’s rape culture. The victim/survivor was a boy, and rape culture tells us men and boys can’t be victims of sexual violence.  The assault started as a prank, so rape culture tells us it was just “boys being boys”.  The victim/survivor didn’t scream or act the way a victim/survivor is “supposed to”, so rape culture says they aren’t a victim.  These are all exceedingly common rape apology tactics. 

And of course, the majority of the people making all these claims are the ones claiming that rape culture doesn't exist. 

Now, less prevalent, but equally problematic are all the claims about how Tosh's commentary isn't racist, because "it's a proven fact that black men have larger penises", it was a joke, and if it is a stereotype it's a "complimentary one".  Guess what though, racist stereotypes are racist.  Racist jokes are racist. And there is no such thing as a complimentary/good stereotype.  One doesn't have to be a member of the KKK to be a racist.  One doesn't have to use the n-word.  All on has to do is treat/see people of color as other.  And if you've grown up in North America, Europe, Australia, or plenty of other countries, and are white, than it's a pretty safe bet that you're at least a little bit racist sometimes. 


  1. The world(the parts I know about) is peopled with rape supporters and people who fail to oppose rape.It is after all unspeakable and unthinkable.Apparently survivors and non-survivors alike are shamed and debilitated by rape.
    Thank you for thinking about it and speaking.
    As a survivor I can report that your words are a delight to read.For years I was "shamed into silence"We now embark upon the task of changing the world.I have not figured out how to encourage people to think clearly about this ongoing atrocity without "shutting them down". Your words will help me carry on figuring this out
    Thank you

    1. Thank you for you kind words, I'm more than happy to have provided any help and comfort to a fellow survivor.
      If you're interested, one of our bloggers, Damsel in de Tech,has written many posts about rape culture with often sarcastic and humorous responses to common forms of rape apology.



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